Don’t make the mistake thinking there is one loadout for all occasions. Instead I encourage folks to be more versatile and balanced.
This is a subject we cover regularly in our Concealed Carry Tactics classes. We ask, what is a minimum loadout for everyday carry? It is a loaded question because there are many variables. For this reason, we came up with our Threat Matrix. It allows folks to adjust their loadout based off the perceived threat. Some may scoff at the concept, but you have to think big. Many folks we work with carry concealed not just off duty, but in the performance of their duties. It’s one thing to be out with your family, where typically you avoid trouble. It is another to have to go looking for it and do it from concealed.
Fill in the blocks
So, what is a Threat Matrix? Think of a graph with the perceived threat levels of low, medium and high across one axis. Then across the other is your loadout of lite, medium and heavy. That will give you a total of 9 blocks. Sit down and figure out how you would adjust your loadout for these various conditions. This exercise is great because it forces you to think outside the box. Yes, you may never have to go into a high threat area with a heavy loadout, but you have at least thought it through so if have to you are prepared to do so.
A sliding scale
Why is the Threat Matrix important? For me, a big reason is it lets you live your life. Sure, some folks think around the corner is the next Bakara Market and they better be ready for it, while others give lip service and feel a mouse gun is all they need. Balance is the key and it will be different for me, just like mine is probably different for you. The cool thing about the Matrix is it is fluid and versatile. I find those two traits to be invaluable when my surroundings are constantly changing.
Off duty frame of mind
For the professional who has to work from concealed on duty, but then chooses a lighter loadout for off duty this is important. Many times they are forced to carry a heavy loadout, because they actually are looking for trouble and therefore want to go heavy. Having to carry that loadout all day is a grind and I don’t blame them when they have second thoughts about carrying off duty. On top of that you may have duties that take you to far away lands where the climate and environment can force you to adapt. The Matrix gives them a different look at concealed and allows them alternatives they can trust.
Overkill is not always good
Trust is another key, more often than not that little voice in the back of your head tells you “what if”. What if today is the day you have to fight off a horde of zombies, wouldn’t you want to be prepared. I once climbed a mountain called McKinley with twice the provisions I needed. It sounded great to have all that until I had to carry the loadout, day after day after day. Then it got really old, really fast (credit mauricio). The same kind of mentality is insidious in the concealed carry world. Folks are quick to comment “well, I have no problem carrying 3 full size pistols, plus 13 magazines and a Samurai sword…you know just in case.” But are they really “concealing” or just covering up because there is a big difference.
The biggest mistake concealed carriers can make is thinking one size fits all for every occasion. You better have a decent loadout that is flexible and versatile to accommodate life so you can actually live your life.